Volume 2, Issue 5 - August 2008 Edition

Featured Articles

Real World Data Modeling
By Andy Field

When I first entered into the world of data modeling, after several years of being a programmer and computer operator, there was a paradigm shift required to embrace the concepts behind structuring data to minimize the impact of change. The adoption of disciplined approaches to the structuring of data, including the use of third normal form, was new to our organization. We had been so used to thinking in terms of data fields and performing operations on them we had never really given any thought to the overall structure and relationships within the data. We were not alone in making this transition.

Monthly Columnists

Consider the supposed purpose of Enterprise Architecture (EA): “The Enterprise Architect connects the IT Organization to business goals” (Van Meter 2008). Then consider the IT budget – anticipated by one respected research organization to hit something close to $1.5 trillion by 2010 (Morgan, 2007). Put those two facts together. Shouldn’t Enterprise Architecture be the driving force of the IT function?

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Along with a deep understanding of the data and meta data, data stewards must thoroughly understand the business processes needed for optimum performance. An excellent way to gain this understanding is to carefully and completely model business processes and the relevant data. Business processes represent the flow of data through a series of tasks that are designed to result in specific business outcomes. They are an important component of a data steward’s responsibility, and stewards should understand the fundamentals of modeling processes as well as data.

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Remember post-mortems from the olden days? Way back when, we used to dread them because it meant that the system we just implemented was DOA (dead on arrival). Not that we had to wait until we put the system into production to know that it (and we) were in trouble. But who had the time to address the telltale signs of a system going wrong when a deadline was looming over our heads, and managers were breathing down our necks making not-so-subtle threats about our career and employment opportunities. So, the system went in, we kept our jobs, and management was content for a day (or two), until the phone went off at 3 AM. The system had crashed. It was time for a post-mortem! Management wanted to know what went wrong, when did we know it, who dropped the ball, and how could we have avoided the situation.

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Whether you are beginning to develop your analytics program, or re-architecting an existing one, long term success depends on having a right-sized, sound approach, and a realistic plan.

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Letter From The Editor

This month EIMInsight Magazine looks more closely at the big picture.   Andy Field joins us for the first time with a look at the overall structure and relationship with data and the paradigm shift that programmers have had to make.  Ian Rowlands focuses on Enterprise Architecture as the driving force of the IT function, Anne Marie Smith continues to focus on the importance of good stewardship and Bruce Johnson outlines the need for a road map to insure any long term success. Finally, Larissa Moss looks at the need to apply lessons learned during the development of our applications (systems) to improve quality.

As always, I encourage you to visit our Library where you will have access to current and past columns.  To find an article written by one of our monthly columnists go to Meet The Experts, where we provide access to each columnist’s contributed EIMInsight articles.

I invite you to join EIMInstitute, it’s free and will provide you with a wealth of research now and in the future. Articles are constantly added to the archives and resource portals, so join us now!

If you have any questions or comments about the magazine or the institute, please contact me at cklima@EIMInstitute.org.

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